The Chicago White Sox entered the 2022 season as the odds-on favorite to win the American League Central Division at odds of -200 at sportsbooks.
Not only were they expected to be the best team in the division, the White Sox were more heavily favored to win their own division than any other division favorites in the entire league. That’s because the rest of the AL Central projected to do poorly as the next best teams in the division only had odds of +4000 to win the World Series.
Last year, the White Sox had a record of 93-69 but lost in the ALDS to the Houston Astros, a disappointing end to what was a solid year. With a return to the playoffs seeming likely, White Sox bettors looked to the World Series Betting market to start the season and their team came in as one of the favorites at +1200 in Illinois sports gambling.
Fast forward a couple of months and things have certainly changed in Chicago. The White Sox have fallen down the odds board in a big way, now coming in at +2800 at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the World Series this season. This is due to a tough start to the year as Chicago’s record as of Monday was a disappointing 28-31.
Luckily for the White Sox, the one thing oddsmakers on Illinois sports betting apps did get right in regard to the AL Central is that the rest of the division wouldn’t be great, so despite being well under .500 the White Sox are just 6.0 games back of the division lead. With this in mind, Chicago is still +135 to win the division, trailing the Minnesota Twins ever so slightly as they come in at +100. No other team in the division is really in the mix with the Cleveland Guardians +550 and the other two teams +9000 or longer.
AL Central World Series Odds
LaRussa’s Managing Questioned
The biggest issue this season with Chicago has been the managing of 77-year-old Tony La Russa. In 2020, Rick Renteria led Chicago to its first playoff berth since 2008 and was a finalist for the AL Manager of the Year award, but he was fired before the 2021 season.
He was replaced by La Russa in a move that has the fingerprints of owner Jerry Reinsdorf all over it. The White Sox made the playoffs but didn’t improve in La Russa’s first year and 2022 has been a major disappointment.
There have been several questionable decisions leading to “Fire La Russa” chants often ringing through Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. The batting order has been criticized a ton, with players like Leury Garcia and Yoan Moncada getting prime spots in the order despite not showing they deserve it.
Offense Can’t Get on Track
Offensively, the White Sox have struggled mightily, ranking 24th in the league in home runs and 27th in total runs. The one bright spot has been shortstop Tim Anderson, whose .356 average ranks among the top five in the league.
Unfortunately, Anderson went down with injury on May 31 and the White Sox haven’t been able to fill his leadoff spot in the lineup properly, with La Russa seemingly wanting to force Garcia into that position. With Anderson likely out until at least June 20, Chicago is going to need to find a few wins without him so it doesn’t fall too far behind in the AL Central standings.
Starting Pitchers Struggling
Pitching also hasn’t been where it needs to be this season, but with starter Lance Lynn making his season debut on Monday the White Sox are hoping to get a spark. Lynn joins Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Vince Velasquez in the rotation.
Of the starters this year, only Kopech has an ERA below 3.00 with a sterling 1.92 mark. Cease and Giolito have shown promise at the top of the rotation but have also had their seasons marred with inconsistencies. Closer Liam Hendricks ranks near the top of the league in saves with 16 on 19 opportunities and those opportunities should increase with Lynn back in the fold giving the Sox quality appearances.
Can the Sox Turn It Around?
With the season quickly getting away from them, the White Sox need a turnaround fast but it may only come if Reinsdorf listens to the fans of his team and moves on from La Russa the way the game of baseball seemingly has.
The biggest sign for optimism in Chicago is the competition, as only the Minnesota Twins seem to be standing in the way in the race for the top in one of the weakest divisions the MLB has seen in some time.
With Lynn returning and Anderson likely back soon, now is the time for Chicago MLB sports bettors to take advantage and get plus money odds on the White Sox winning the AL Central.